A woman who feared she'd lost an irreplaceable coin at a Harris County toll booth got it back thanks to her determined husband and a county employee who went above and beyond the call of duty.
Every day 200,000 motorists pass through west belt toll booths. Monday morning one of them was Maria Williams. Maria's husband, Jeff Williams explained, "Her car broke down, yesterday so we have rental (car), 'cause we have an EZ tag!"
Maria gave the attendant a ten dollar bill and to her surprise she got it back because it was counterfeit.
With no other cash in her pocket book, Maria gave the toll booth attendant the only other thing she had, a Bicentennial dollar coin. It was in her mother's purse, when her mom died in 2009 at Ben Taub. Since then, it's been in Maria's purse. The memento is worth a lot more than just a dollar.
It took a lot of phone calls, but Jeff reached the manager of the Memorial Toll Plaza, Quemony Stewart.
Stewart has been with the Harris County Toll Road authority for 20 years. He found the right toll booth operator who remembered the incident and was able to find the unusual Bicentennial dollar which is much larger than other dollar coins. Stewart says it was the only Bicentennial dollar the attendant had that morning.
To show his appreciation, Jeff, who is a Pokagon Indian brought a little token from his tribe for Stewart.
The thanks is heartfelt because Jeff's dad has now passed and Jeff is following his wife's lead. Jeff pulled out a half dollar his father had in his pocket when he died at the hospital.
"I keep it with me all the time, so I know how much it meant to her to get hers back," said Jeff.
It's a bit of change and effort that has meant a lot.